LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — As a national conversation surrounding immigration reform wages on, Prince George’s County has received a $3 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to open two new public high schools designed to improve achievement rates among students learning English as a second language.

A news release from the county says the schools will “provide immigrant students, as well as those who are economically disadvantaged and prospective first generation college attendees, with an innovative opportunity to complete their high school diploma.”

About 12 percent of all Prince George’s County public school students receive “English Language Learner” services. In the 2012-2013 school year, the graduation rate for ELL students was just over 63 percent, while the county’s overall rate is just over 74 percent.

While about 47 percent of Prince George’s County grads enroll in college, just 32 percent of ELL graduates do.

“We serve a very diverse student population where academic support and language services must be integrated for our students’ success,” says Dr. Kevin M. Maxwell, Chief Executive Officer of Prince George’s County Public Schools.

“The development of these schools is an important step in addressing the serious challenges facing Prince George’s County, especially the Langley Park community,” said Gustavo Torres, Executive Director of CASA de Maryland.

The school system release says the schools will also “serve as a community resource for students and their families to ensure that their adjustment needs are met.”

One of the schools will be in the Langley Park area and the other will be for new English language learners as a school-within-a-school in another part of the county.

They are expected to open at the start of the 2015-2016 school year.

Prince George’s County currently has 205 schools serving about 125,000 students.


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